Recently we had a weeks holiday in Penestin which is in southern Brittany and on the coast. I like this bit of France! A really pleasant journey getting there, including the overnight ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo and then a nice amble down to Penestin with the bikes on the back of the car. Although this holiday was a conventional family holiday, naturally it involved some early morning running for me followed by some easy-going bike rides.
The town of Penestin appears to be a quiet, sleepy community with a definable town centre and the community spreads along the coast and inland a little. Some are well cared-for little palaces, others are newer second homes. I loved the meadow-like fields; these were smallish fields with lush hedges, trees etc forming the borders and quiet, accessible beaches. Must be a home for a huge number of insects, bees and other wildlife. There’s also a certain beauty to the beaches, marshes and the coastline; without doubt this would take many different forms over the different seasons.
What it’s like
That’s the thing about this area and, for that matter, much of France: it’s a very easy-going place to cycle with relatively quiet roads. No particularly steep hills or other challenges, at least while we were there. Hard core roadies would probably find it a bit dull unless huge distances were involved as there were no climbs and no significant downhill swoops.
The peninsular itself can be easily covered in an afternoon by bicycle, even allowing for a few stops on the way. With quiet beaches and pretty country lanes it seems daft not to slow the pace and enjoy the surroundings. Besides, a brisk and spirited ride would probably have you over taking local traffic. There is a network of signed cycle routes and these are thoughtfully done.
We stayed at the Yelloh! site at D’Inly, right in the middle and a perfect spot for starting and finishing a ride. Besides the ultra quiet roads, there’s a good network of traffic free trails and ideal for cycling, though a hybrid would be the first choice here. As things turned out, I didn’t use these for cycling but only running. During the time we were there and the miles I covered, the only other person using the trails was a horse rider!
Ideal for…. Gentle rides in good weather, visiting the beautiful old town in the city of Vannes (about 30km), exploring woodland trails, quiet beaches, easy rides with my teenage daughters and seaside crepes. Middle aged 51 year olds practising school-boy French to the amusement of local people.
Less good for…. Challenging hills, getting lost. Eating out if you’re vegetarian, almost hopeless for vegans. Hoping for help from other cyclists should the need arise.
Some other photographs: